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Lackey, China King get some sweet revenge
Saturday, January 24th, 2015 - Mark Ratzky, publicty – Cal Expo Harness

Out of 31 races last week, a grand total of three were won in coast-to-coast fashion, and one of those was turned in by China King and pilot Chip Lackey while capturing the Open Pace at juicy 19-1 odds.
The East Coast invader, who races for Gary and Jennifer Sabot and trainer Gene Vallandingham, had suffered brutal beats at the hands of the streaking St Lads Lotto in his previous two efforts, but was able to turn the tables last weekend with his 1:52 1/5 tour.
“To be honest, I didn’t go into that race with the same confidence I had the previous two starts when he was just nipped,” Lackey explained. “He’d missed a couple of starts, it looked like there was plenty of other speed in there and after a night and a half of racing to that point, there hadn’t been a horse win on the front end.
“On top of that, I’d been having some pretty bad luck with my drives. That said, I always try to be optimistic when I go out there and I will say that Jen (Sabot) and Gene were pretty confident about China King’s chances and did a terrific job to have him ready.”
Lackey was able to buzz the pacer right to the front and cut out fractions of :27 2/5, :54 4/5 and 1:22 3/5 en route to the three-quarters of a length upset over the 1-2 St Lads Lotto, who had his seven-race win streak snapped in the process.
“This is a very nice one,” Chip noted. “There are a lot of horses who like to roll away from there and then you have to wrestle with them, but he’ll pretty much do anything you want and is very ratable.
“Everything considered, I thought they might want me to take back with him last week, but they said to let him fire out and that’s what we did. It was a tremendous effort when you remember he hadn’t raced in three weeks, and it also did a lot to raise my spirits after some tough luck.”
High Bet Hanover eyes another snapshot
Sunday’s distaff pacing feature goes in two divisions, with High Bet Hanover and J’s Littlerockstar heading their respective races. A 10-race card is set with first post at 4:50 p.m.
High Bet Hanover comes into her contest having posed for pictures following four of her last five starts, with her only setback coming two weeks ago when she took on some very tough male rivals.
The Bettor’s Delight mare, who races for Kc C Carvalho, is conditioned by Tim Brown and will have Luke Plano guiding, rattled off three straight victories here between December 22 and January 2, then had her work cut out versus the likes of A Real Miracle at next asking.
Returning to face fillies and mares last week, High Bet Hanover was hammered down to 1-2 and did not disappoint her many supporters. Plano left into a tracking trip with his charge, took aim on the leaders in the stretch and swept by when it counted for a length and a half score.
J’s Littlerockstar has been a gem of consistency and will be well backed in the co-feature. James Kennedy owns, trains, drives and bred the Little Steven mare, who has multiple Sire Stakes trophies on her mantle.
The bay miss has accounted for the last two stakes engagements for her division, getting the January 4 score after the disqualification of arch-rival Brewski, then hung a head decision on that foe in last week’s Sire Stakes clash in another big mile.
Next week will find the trotters and pacers in action under the Watch and Wager LLC banner on Friday and Saturday nights, with no racing on Super Bowl Sunday, February 1.